There’s so much information out there about what to eat or avoid during pregnancy. Follow these guidelines I created as a radical nutritionist baby momma on a budget for ensuring powerful food essentials for vibrant pregnancy. Plus, these same guidelines support successful milk production postpartum.
Group 1: Greens
Here’s the most powerful food for your growing body and baby. Rich, dark leafy greens deliver the essential vitamins and minerals your body needs. Prenatal vitamins are possibly optional if you maintain a steady intake of green veggies. Folic acid, the vitamin prescribed heavily to pregnant people in order to prevent spina bifida, is easily available in raw baby spinach. Other greens, whether enjoyed in juices, smoothies, salads, or cooked dishes, deliver more calcium than dairy products. Make sure you have at least one green smoothie daily for maximum benefit, and rotate which greens you eat to keep a variety of nutrients in your system. Anyone with anemia or concerns about iron should be sure to go green during pregnancy and postpartum!
Group 2: Grains
Whole grains, especially oats, are often the main ingredient in those yummy breastfeeding cookies. Not only has oatmeal been helpful for those looking to boost supply, it along with other great grains like millet, quinoa, teff, and barley provide essential carbohydrates and proteins needed to sustain your body’s energy levels. Plus, grains are loaded with fiber to aid your digestion. Grains are said to increase milk production, and even the fermented hops found in beer have been said to be effective for nursing mothers. Lactation counselors sometimes recommend dark beers like oatmeal stouts. (Beer should be consumed in moderation when nursing and caring for young babies.)
Group 3: Roots
Make sure your pregnancy and postpartum diet is rich with root veggies. Carrots, raw or cooked are my top recommendation because they deliver vitamin A, and complement lactation. Beets are also helpful to include because they aid in iron absorption, and support healthy circulation. Sweet potato is also a wonderful staple for the pregnant and postpartum diet because of its high fiber content and relaxing mix of sweet carbohydrates and B-complex vitamins.
Group 4: Seeds, Avocado, Fats
Always make sure to include seeds like flax, sunflower, and pumpkin. These are usually very cost effective and give you additional boosts of protein, while their essential fatty acids make the body more supple for the stretching of gestation and delivery. Avocados are also a wonderful source of fat and protein. These healthy fatty foods contribute to your baby’s brain and neurological health! You can also get these fats through good oils like coconut, olive, and grapeseed.
With those four groups above, you should be well on your way to a healthy pregnancy, birth, and postpartum journey. Remember to stay hydrated - half your weight in ounces is what you must drink daily! And while these are the affordable easy staples of a childbearing person’s diet, I highly recommend other simple herbs and teas such a red raspberry leaf and fennel.
Rachel Bolden-Kramer is a single momma entrepreneur and the author of My Food Stamps Cookbook. She is the owner of a play-based preschool serving affordable delicious plant-powered food to children and families. Rachel is a certified yoga teacher and nutritionist originally from San Francisco, CA. Follow her radical nutrition hustler lifestyle // instagram // website